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 A Lady's Duty, Dol Amroth; 3005 TA [The Twins, et. al]
Lothíriel
Posted: Jun 3 2014, 07:19 PM



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"I do not want to dress like a lady!" A petulant stamp of the foot accompanied the raised voice that was met with a disapproving gaze and the elderly woman rose to her full height, staring at the young girl before her. Off to the side, another sat quietly, her brown eyes wide in shock at the outburst from her friend.

"And why not?"

"Because the dresses are heavy and stuffy and hot and I don't like it," came the tinny whine from the little form that then flopped herself most dramatically down upon the floor. The dramatics did receive one thing: an appreciative laugh from the elder housekeeper who stood before her, shaking her head. "Why can I not wear my play clothes? They are not dirty!" She sat upright then, casting a glance over at the dress that was laid out on her bed for later in the day with hope.

Telemanthea moved forward then, bending to stand the little Princess on two feet. "You know why, my swanling. Your father is expecting visitors today, and you must look the part of the Lady of the House." She smoothed out a minuscule wrinkle that creased the shift Lothíriel wore and then rose to fetch the dress that hung nearby. The dress looked nothing like the child had described it: while the fabric was rich and the embroidery detail along the hemline immaculate, it was light enough to not cause the wearer to be burdened by its weight or the weather. One incident in one overly fancy dress, though, had convinced the young Lothíriel that all dresses that were not of the playtime variety were bothersome. The housekeeper smiled as she watched the child begrudgingly assist in her being dressed, groaning and fidgeting uncomfortably as it was laced up in the back.

Lothíriel shot a look to Avariel then, who only smiled at her companion and shrugged. At least the two were similarly dressed, the Princess thought; whereas the Princess' dress was much more extravagant in nature, her friend's refinery was no less exquisite.

"Sit," Telemanthea ordered and motioned to the bed as she went to fetch the comb and the small circlet that the child would wear. She motioned for Avariel to come forward, and the young girl moved over quickly to join her grandmother and friend on the bed. "What story did I last tell? My mind is aging and forgetful."

This elicited a laugh from both girls and it was Avariel who spoke up, settling down beside Lothíriel. "You were telling us of the Battle of the Field of Celebrant," she reminded the older woman who only nodded as she tried to recall where she had stopped.

"Eorl, you were telling us of Eorl and his people before they came to aid Gondor," Lothíriel reminded as the comb drug through her tangled hair, attempting somewhat vainly to tame the wild mess. As Telemanthea worked on making the Princess look presentable, she recount the tale of Celebrant to the attentive girls before her, stopping only when questions were asked and told to repeat parts of the story that both girl's found interesting. It was a wonderful stalling mechanism, storytelling, but it was also a wonderful mechanism to keep a fidgety Princess still as she was transformed from a tousled child into the daughter of a ruler.

A half hour later, the girl's hair had been suitably tamed and the circlet woven in place by skilled hands. Moving off the bed, Telemanthea listened as the morning bell rang out and moved Lothíriel and Avariel off to fetch their slippers.

"It is time," she reminded the girls and opened the door, watching as small shoulders squared up and the child stepped out of her room and moved for the staircase. Company was coming, playtime would have to wait, and for a moment, she would have to be the Lady of the house. Following at the housekeeper's side, she peered around the woman as they descended the stairs, hoping to get a quick look at whoever had come.
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Elrohir
Posted: Jun 6 2014, 09:51 PM



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It had been a long eight months, and Elrohir couldn't say he wasn't glad to see the gray line of the sea stretched out like a thread of twine only a bare few miles out when they had spent all year further inland. Once you saw one endless plain of flatland, you'd seen them all, and he was in no hurry to push their party in any direction more northerly for the time being though his legs were sore for the road home and the handful of Dunedain accompanying them had made their seemingly eternal journey even longer in light of their mortal shortcomings that forced them to stop to break a camp every night.

To their credit, the mere sight of Dol Amroth's high, forbidding walls from the last craggy gray foothill had galvanized them into making the final ten-mile leg of the road the night before, for which Elrohir was unspeakably thankful (though he doubted the horses, had anyone asked them, would have been able to say the same). Any other city would have required a slightly more diplomatic approach around the dance of securing hospitality from the resident steward, but their yearly reconnaissance had brought no good news to report, and even fewer opportunities for respite between the unusually bloated ranks of Orcs roaming the dark lee of Ered Nimrais, and their tradition of enjoying Dol Amroth's first family's confidence had perhaps made them more ready to call upon them for a place to rest than usual.

Prince Imrahil looked slightly more wizened than the last time Elrohir had seen him, but there had been little time to reflect on that before they'd been shuttled off to guest quarters, the understanding that the morning would be better suited for informational exchange going unspoken. Elrohir himself had risen early to bathe and put himself into a slightly more respectable state, then lazed about until the stream of steady sunlight creeping in through his window urged him up, in no mood to delude himself that their companions would be up and about any sooner than noon. Given the trouble they had gone through to cut their way through the fields surrounding Orthanc, Elrohir felt a morning of sleeping in was deserved.

By the time he had begun to hear serving staff padding around upstairs, he'd slipped out, sans armor, his hair bound back, to drag Elladan from the room next door and make sure he was up for breakfast, admittedly not overly excited for the task of having to relay their findings on the suspiciously intense Orc activity where there had been little only a decade before to their host.
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Elladan
Posted: Jun 7 2014, 03:06 PM



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Sometimes Elladan wondered if they didn't have an unfair advantage in the fact that unchanging elves were something of a rarity within the cities of Men. They were always easy to recognize when they visited, the two of them together, and having the same features as they had in Imrahil's youth made it all the more easy for him to welcome them within his home, whether they were on official duties or not. He had to wonder whether those facts were what led to the decisions of those who had chosen to accompany them so far south this year, especially with the increase in orc attacks in the area as of late.

Still, he would not begrudge his friends the benefits their company brought them, like the comfort a warm fire and lavish guest rooms afforded. The added comfort being able to sleep after the sun rose rather than hauling down tents and starting fires was something that he himself did not usually take advantage of, no matter how exhausting the journey had been.

Elladan was awake with the first hint of lightening sky, the sumptuous blankets wrapped around himself in a cocoon of opulence. It may not have been particularly cool, but it was a habit he had never grown out of. He slithered out of the night-made nest eventually and set about readying himself for the day of political intrigue ahead. These days he did his best to live up to his station when he was supposed to be acting as liaison for Imladris, meaning effort was actually paid on his appearance, in the form of brushed hair and braids and a tunic that was a shade other than neutral grey.

He was only half dressed when Elrohir slipped into his room unannounced, so he threw a pillow at his face to keep him occupied while he finished buttoning up the tunic. Once he'd slipped his boots on, Elladan followed his twin out into the hall. Luckily their recurring visits meant they had a fairly good lay of the land, and didn't need an escort to find their way to the dining hall. Passing by the stairs, he raised his brows and gave his twin a little nudge. "When were we here last? Did Imrahil have any daughters then?" His head tilted as he folded his arms behind his back, smiling pleasantly at the three ladies making their way down the stairs and offering a small nod of his head in lieu of a full-fledged bow. "Good morning, Lady Telemanthea," he chirped, "You are looking as radiant as last we met. Who are these tiny ducklings trailing along behind you?"
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Lothíriel
Posted: Jun 7 2014, 10:10 PM



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As the head housekeeper, even when Aearheron was alive, Telemanthea knew everyone and everything that happened in the home of Imrahil--the arrival of Elrond's sons and their accompanying party the previous night was no different. She had been busy most of the night, preparing rooms and arranging meals for the duration of their stay, knowing that emissaries from foreign lands tended to bring ill news. Especially when the party consisted of two half-elven lords who were known to go roaming abroad, hunting orcs, and Rangers whose duties were to keep lands free of orc-scum. She did not let it worry her now, though. She had her usual duties to tend to, plus some; that plus some included making sure the guests were properly fed. She tried to recall which twin was which--a troublesome task for a mind that had met so many over the years--and instead reverted to her usual courtesy without making a blundering fool of herself.

"Good morning, my lord. You are far too kind in your observation. And you will have to forgive Prince Imrahil: he had to tend to some things at the docks this morning, so he will not be joining us for breakfast, nor will his sons." She had been right: Elladan was too kind with his observation. The years were taking their toll on the Dol Amrothian, after all. She was no longer as spry as she was, walking a bit slower, and her once dark-brown hair was now speckled with far too much gray. Still, she was doing well for her age, and the smile that graced her feature took away the wrinkles that were starting form, lifting if only briefly the age that was settling in. "It has been some time since you were last here. You have not yet met these swanlings," she commented as she stopped two steps from the bottom of the stairwell, motioning for the girls to stand by her. Avariel immediately took up her place beside Telemanthea, one hand wrapping into the skirts of her dress to cling tightly to it. "This is my granddaughter, Avariel." She smiled down at the girl, who dipped into a quick curtsy with a shyly murmured "good morning" to the elves.

Lothíriel, on the other hand, had been staring at the elves as soon as they had come into sight, having stopped a few steps above Telemanthea to better take them in. Dark eyes shone with curiosity, the small girl smiling at the two. Never before had she laid eyes on elves, not until this moment. She had heard stories, of course, but the awe that took hold of her features was obvious. It was only when Telemanthea lightly cleared her throat that the child moved down further.

"And this is Lothíriel, Prince Imrahil's daughter." The young girl, unlike her shy companion, stood proudly and curtsied, assuming the role of Princess with ease.

"Good morning, my lords," she said, bringing her eyes to first meet Elrohir's and then Elladan's. Looking over to Telemanthea, who merely nodded, the child stepped down and looked in the direction they had already been heading: the dining hall. The royal family usually dined in private quarters when there were no guests, but with the arrival of the group, the child knew they would take their meals in the dining hall. She thought for a moment, trying to figure out how to word what she should next say. She threw formality out the window, though, as she was reminded of just how hungry she was when she caught a whiff of food that was being readied at the tables. "Are you hungry? 'Thea had the cooks make fruit pies!"
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Elrohir
Posted: Jun 11 2014, 03:20 AM



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Too early to be up. Too early to be batting pillows away from his face. While more tireless than the rest of their company, the twins were hardly infallible, and Elrohir was beginning to regret having risen so early in the service of trying to look like an attentive guest when the sunlight felt like steel wool over his eyeballs and the minute sound of Elladan's breathing was beginning to stoke his annoyance into a dangerously fratricidal anger. As Elladan stopped to make some inane observation about something or other, he, too, stopped, if a little belatedly, all of his brain functions trained on the greater task of actually getting anywhere without getting the both of them turned around. Swiveling around to fix his twin with a well-practiced 'what in the name of Ilúvatar's long white beard are you going on about' look, he leaned into the wall at their side, sluggishly processing the question asked of him, though he begrudged his brother the effort when he would have rather been continuing to search for a seat and a plate of food that wasn't dried.

"He'd just been wed, I think," he mumbled, though in hindsight perhaps 'just' had been the wrong modifier to use—they lived in two different worlds, and sometimes it was difficult to qualify what counted as 'recent' outside of Rivendell. A single mortal lifespan, even one bestowed with the extra bounty of a few decades or so beyond the scope of the middle-men of the more northern tribes of the Edain thanks to the prince's elven heritage, would fall well within that time period, and for all he knew, Imrahil had taken on a few more wrinkles since they'd last seen him. His brow furrowed, but he said no more, thankful to be able to leave the business of being the effervescent guest to Elladan; he volunteered only a shallow cant of his head to the housemistress, too bogged down by the weight of the morning to be much more forthcoming than that.

At the sudden revelation that they were to be dining without their host, Elrohir's eyes fixed back on her, his gaze darting sidelong to Elladan. As much as the prospect of being able to enjoy breakfasting without the strain of having to relay their findings should have appealed to him, the mounting activity from the Enemy stronghold to the east left him unsettled and hopeful for more productive dialogues with Imrahil, if only so they'd be able to return to Imladris with something constructive to offer their father to soften the unusually grim sum of what they had reconnoitered over the year. He exhaled a long, annoyed breath through his nose, warily eyeing the two tagalongs all but glued to the lady Telemanthea's side as they introduced themselves, uncomfortably reminded of the fact that he had no idea how to talk to or interact with children and unsure of what to do about it—he could hardly as much as look at either of them for long, his heart contracting with an odd twinge at the echo of Arwen residing somewhere in the lady Lothiriel's face and bearing.

He had barely come to the conclusion that he could leave that, too, to Elladan, when the princess's voice broke the expectant silence, and Elrohir was immediately far more awake than he had been a half-moment before. Fruit pies. Dare he even hope? Just having a meal composed of things that weren't trail rations was a luxury beyond his wildest hopes, but the lure of baked goods practically shot a rush of adrenaline into his heart at the very thought, all of his earlier annoyance dissolving away. "Keep them away from Elladan, he'll stuff them all into his fat face and not share," he huffed, shooting a dark look at his twin and beginning after their host, his arms folded behind his back.
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Elladan
Posted: Jun 15 2014, 04:49 PM



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Elladan should really consider attempting to improve his memory, at least keep notes, in order to keep up with the swiftly changing dynamics of those mortal royal families they only visited perhaps once a decade or as their father's envoys. His own lifespan should have made it easier to remember, but he was more concerned with those of the Dunedain than those he infrequently interacted with. Elrohir had even less of a recollection he was sure, since he barely kept up friendly pretenses in company. Still, being wed was an odd thing with Men, and had always equated having children in his mind, so he could only assume Imrahil's sons had been born soon after they had seen him last. These little ones were new then.

If he had been any normal elf he may not have recognized the lady. It had been long since he had seen her last, and the years had worn on her as they did all men, though not so hard as some. The centuries among men had attuned him to recognizing the features beneath the wrinkles and sagging skin. When he was younger it had saddened him to see men he had loved from childhood grow strong and then become feeble and pass from the world. That had been long ago, and it was not so often now that he became attached to any he did not ride with consistently. Still, for the time that had passed she had aged gracefully, and he still had a respect for the woman. It would be sad when her time came to an end.

He exchanged a look with Elrohir at the announcement, just as relieved as his twin that they wouldn't have to deliver poor tidings over their first good meal in weeks, but he gave no outward sign. Elladan didn't think it was a good idea to offend their hostess while the prince was away. "Ah well," he answered brightly, "that will just give us more time to get acquainted." The grin widened at the little curtsies, tipping his head at each in greeting. One was timid, the other headstrong and proud it seemed. Elladan let out a laugh- quiet for his standards, but probably louder than most within the house- at the reveal of fruit pies. Gaiety was not often encouraged in noble households. "Yes, we haven't had a decent meal in ages!"

Elladan didn't have to look to feel Elrohir perk up at his side. Sometimes he wondered which of them had the bigger sweet tooth, what with how possessive Elrohir was of such things. He answered the dark look from his twin at the sudden oversharing with a roll of his eyes. Elrohir stole food from him all the time, but the one time he took the last of the strawberry tarts from breakfast one day seemed to be burned into Elrohir's mind with a vengeance, with how often he brought it up. "He's exagerrating," Elladan cupped the side of his mouth as he leaned down to murmur sidelong to Imrahil's daughter Lothiriel. He was not exactly versed in interacting with children either, but since he was relatively friendly with everyone it was easier for him to relate in general than Elrohir. "I am very good at sharing," he insisted, wrinkling his nose up at Elrohir.

He whistled in appreciation as they entered the dining hall, seeing the elaborate arrangement- or at least more elaborate than what they had been enjoying lately- and commented airily, "The men will regret sleeping in."
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Lothíriel
Posted: Jun 15 2014, 06:27 PM



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Names were much easier to remember when someone mentioned another's name, and as soon as Elrohir accused Elladan of fruit pie hoarding, the elder housekeeper took mental notes of which twin was which: clothing differences, variances in voices, and even which was the more outwardly going brother. The housekeeper could tell neither were used to children, although if she recalled correctly from talk when they had been here in earlier years, they had a sister. Then again, the Elven folk aged quite differently, she recalled, and no doubt their sister was no longer a little girl running about in braids like the two at her skirt tails. They were doing the best job they could...or at least Elladan was.

Lothíriel giggled at Elladan's whispered words, smiling up at him and then smiling at Elrohir. "'Thea always makes sure there are extras...because Amrothos is bad at eating all the fruit pies," she offered and moved off as Telemanthea shooed them toward the dining hall. The two younger girls skipped ahead, hand in hand, whispering with one another. Their subject? The Twins.

"They are elves," Lothíriel whispered in awe to her companion, who shot a look back at the twins before moving into the hall.

"They are so tall...and...pretty." It was the wrong word, of course, but it was the only way Avariel could describe them. Ethereal was the word she should have used, but her vocabulary, while extensive for a child her age, had not quite reached that word yet.

Telemanthea followed along beside the Twins, watching as the two girls scrambled to their seats at the table. The head of the table was empty, Imrahil's usual spot, and two spots to the left and right were set for those who were going to be eating breakfast. Lothíriel and Avariel took the seats to the right, both whispering and giggling with one another. The other two, across from the younger girls, were for the Twins.

The spread on the table was much more sumptuous than trail rations--fruit pies ranging from strawberry to blueberry and raspberry, eggs that were scrambled, hard cheeses, muffins that were drizzled with honey, and even fresh fruit and a few freshly baked loaves of bread and butter along with cooled milk and freshly squeezed orange juice. It looked as if they were planning to feed an army...and Telemanthea was. She knew men who traveled far and wide tended to have large appetites when they finally came to the city, and so she had told the cooks to prepare more than the usual lot for the family. Not just for the Rangers, though. When Imrahil and the boys would return, they would eat as well before going about their duties.

Seated, Lothíriel looked to the Twins, fighting back giggles at Elladan's whistle. Telemanthea laughed, moving forward to adjust the girls in their seats. "I am sure they will smell it soon and join you," the elder woman said, looking at the food. "Please, enjoy. I will return in a moment with tea." While milk and juice were common, Telemanthea always believed a cup of tea did wonders for the body: she drank a dark tea and lemon every morning, and now she was trying to ingrain the habit into the two younger girls. Both frowned as she exited to head to the kitchens, but they went about getting their food, too hungry to care if they had to drink a little tea or not.

As Avariel moved to take a muffin and some eggs that were in her reach, Lothíriel picked up a fruit pie and held it out to Elrohir. "Here you go, just for you," she said with a smile, the warm pie settled on the napkin she had picked it up with. A child's simple gift, something she hoped would break the ice that seemed to keep him from being as jovial as his brother.
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Elrohir
Posted: Jun 25 2014, 07:40 PM



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Taking a meal in what was ostensibly a family room without their host present—and now minus the only other adult likely capable of talking any sense—struck Elrohir as uncomfortably intimate in the second he had to look around before moving on to take a seat to one side of Imrahil's empty place, a huge departure from breakfasts at the banquet hall in Rivendell's main house where one didn't feel the need to volunteer conversation if they weren't so inclined; there were plenty of others to fill the empty air up to brimming beneath the high ceiling no matter how early in the morning. But even for all his reluctance, Elrohir couldn't deny that the spread immediately motivated his empty stomach to act for his uncertain mind on sight, his eyes fixing unsurely on his twin before he gave in and followed the girls' examples in artfully arranging a small heap of eggs and bread onto his setting until his meal had formed a slightly lopsided tower.

It took every ounce of willpower to not decimate the table of its current supply of fruit pies, but Elrohir knew better than to give in right away, or else there wouldn't be any left by the time the rest of their company awoke and lurched their way down the stairs to follow the sweet redolence of hot, fresh food towards them. He was silent as he methodically took apart his meal bite by bite, the warm starchiness of the bread settling in his stomach the way lembas simply did not, even despite his grandmother's superiority complex about waybread. Well, Melian had probably enjoyed a simple loaf just as much, and though it was dubiously magical and uncommonly filling, a Maia couldn't refuse a fresh loaf, made by the cooks of Men or not.

Feeling a pleasant lassitude begin to ease the weeks of travel back into distant memory, Elrohir sighed, belatedly nursing a mug of orange juice and trying not to make eye contact with the children across the tables. The only other young Adan he could call to mind was Estel, and even he didn't really count anymore—with so little exposure to them, he wasn't sure how to as much as talk to them, even had he possessed any desire to try to make small talk for the sake of humoring them as their hosts. In fact, he had worked so hard to forcibly tune them out that it took a moment for him to notice he was being addressed until he noticed the scent of a pastry seemed unusually close to his face, his eyes lifting a second later to the sight of the culprit held a polite space away.

His brow descended into a suspicious furrow, and he looked at her a long moment (wait, which one was she? Avariel? No, wait, that was the other one, wasn't it?) before finally seeming to concede, and putting out a palm so he could accept the gift with a muted tip of his head. "Thank you, lady," he mumbled, deciding it would be more rude to set it aside, and taking a small, surprisingly restrained nibble on the corner, though the corner of his lip twitched upward almost rapturously as he bit down and felt the lightest curl of steam eke out through the crisp first layer. No, he had to take back what he had thought about her reminding him of Arwen: Arwen would never have offered up something so precious as an unclaimed fruit pie without having first stuffed herself.

What suspiciously selfless children Men had.
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Elladan
Posted: Jun 26 2014, 03:09 PM



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Elladan struggled mightily to keep a straight face during their walk to the dining hall. The girls had observed that they were elves, yes, but it seemed their knowledge of them ran short, and did not take into account that their hearing far exceeded that of Men. Their whispering was as clear as ringing bells to him, and he shot Elrohir a look while following behind the women and mouthed pretty~ as he batted his eyelashes in demonstration. He was thankful that Elrohir had always had a little more self control than him, because if they hadn't been in polite company he might have been tempted to cuff him.

That self control did not always extend to the dinner table. Elrohir was very territorial when it came to food, and Elladan had gotten used to him snatching treats from near the moment they'd exited the womb. He didn't have as big a sweet tooth as his twin, but he did have a bit of a weakness for berries and apples, and was glad to find that there was more than enough to satisfy all of them. What a spread, really. It looked like there was enough food laid out to feed all the occupants of Lord Elrond's hall had they all been present, and they had not even brought a third of that number with them.

Elladan thanked Telemanthea for the offer of tea, settling in his seat and contenting himself with buttering a hunk of dark rye bread while they awaited her return. He had developed an unconscious love/hate relationship with hot tea. During his extended convalescence in Imladris many centuries ago, he'd been plied each day (sometimes several times a day) with teas from his father and both uncles, and though it held an unpleasant association with past wounds, a steaming cup of tea also brought him a subtle sense of comfort that he appreciated more than he liked to admit. He would always accept one, though he never made it for himself.

A short silence fell on their little party as all four of them worked to fill their plates and ease the pang of hunger in their bellies. Elladan was just wondering how long it would take for their friends to be roused by the smell of warm food when Imrahil's daughter held up the highly coveted pie for his twin. He held back his laugh long enough to swallow the mouthful of bread and cheese he'd been chewing - he didn't find much humor in choking - and raised his brows with a grin. It looked like Elrohir would soon have a little soft spot forming for that one. She'd poked right at his weakness and would have him wrapped around her finger within two days.

"Best to just slide it along the table next time so he doesn't take your hand off with it," he commented, watching Elrohir bite into the pastry with what appeared to be very fake reluctance. His restraint was commendable, he had to admit, t took him much longer to crumble than he'd expected. The shift in his expression was subtle, but to Elladan it was obvious he was near melting with delight, and he couldn't help the soft laugh that bounced off the walls in the mostly empty room. That face looked much too similar to the one he caught sight of when Elrohir was far less innocently distracted by a certain aide they happened to share quarters with from time to time. "Control yourself, gwanunig," he reminded him teasingly, "there are children present. Ladies at that."

He looked back to the girls and grinned, reaching to get a blueberry pie for himself before Elrohir lost his magnificent willpower and took them all. "Well done. I think he likes you." As if his twin were a skittish puppy and not sitting there listening to every word he said.
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Lothíriel
Posted: Jun 29 2014, 12:18 PM



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Being ignored was not something Lothíriel was used to--the four men in her life were always eager to listen or engage with the young girl, and she expected visitors to be no different. A child's mind could not fathom that some people were actually opposed to interacting with children. When he finally acknowledged the offered the pastry and thanked her for it, she giggled. "My name is Lothíriel," she reminded the elf-twin. "'Thea is the lady. I'm just a little girl!" When he bit into the pastry, she looked pleased at the small smile that twitched at the corner of his lips. "'Thea promised to teach me how to make the pies." It was something she was looking forward to--learning how to make the pies. Anything that kept her away from her usual lessons tended to thrill the girl. It was then the older woman appeared, moving with a pot of freshly brewed tea.

She poured three cups--one for each of the women present--and settled down beside Avariel, dipping a spoon into a nearby pot of honey to mix it in with her tea. Both girls followed suit, Lothíriel ever watching the Twins with diligence while Avariel merely snuck glances at them. When Elladan spoke, the former eyed the other twin cautiously. She smiled in turn, though, but her expression perked up at the Elvish term he used. As he addressed his twin with the ease as if he was not in the room, she posed a question most seriously.

"What does gwanuing mean?" she asked then, forgoing the plate of food in front of her. "I want to learn Elvish," she began in explanation, "but Master Hebirardh says I am too little to learn."

"Lothíriel," Telemanthea warned in that even tone of hers, knowing the child held a grudge against the tutor for not caving to her desire to learn and would continue on with her grumpings if allowed. "Let the elf-lords eat in peace, little one. And eat. You will have a tiring day ahead if you do not."

The tutor was strict, as he thought he should be, and while his strictness in lessons had worked with his three prior pupils, the young girl before him was an entirely different matter. She wanted to learn but not within the confines of order. The elder man had yet to learn that, though. She was willful with him, most problematic when it came to her daily lessons that required hours in his stuffy little quarters. The child had flourished in the kitchen, though, able to be hands on with aiding the cooks and learning how to properly prepare food, allowed freedom and a bit of chaos to shape her knowledge. She also did well when Telemanthea tended to the household necessities such as shopping and preparing for guests. Something about Hebirardh rankled the girl, though; perhaps it was the age difference, or perhaps it was the small office and stuffy air. No one could pinpoint the reason, not even the perceptive Telemanthea.

The girl looked at the elder woman and frowned, mumbling a sorry directed at the Twins before she returned to her food, grasping her cup of tea in hand to sip at it since it had cooled off.
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Elrohir
Posted: Jul 16 2014, 04:22 AM



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Group: Half-Elves
Posts: 120
Member No.: 11
Joined: 14-March 14



Elrohir could do nothing more than stare at her a moment as he chewed with the deliberate restraint of a child trying to get the most out of his mouthful, feeling rather like a cow on its cud, but too enraptured to be appropriately bothered by it. It was Elladan's irritatingly overstated stage whisper that broke his focus, his gaze sliding to his brother's face, his own taking on a dark, poisonous look as he lifted his mug to his lips, not so much as blinking when the girls' nurse reentered the hall and set herself to conferring tea to her charges. The subtle scent of tea leaves softened his mood a little in light of the memory of many mornings breakfasting in the company of his family attached to it, but again, it took Imrahil's daughter's voice piping up to answer his twin to make him momentarily forget his annoyance.

Despite himself, he felt his eyebrow arch in question, belatedly becoming more aware that the girls had been studying them with all the ferocious scrutiny only two young girls could exhibit to such a professional degree—he felt a little like he was up on a scaffold somewhere, waiting for them to pronounce their findings. But what had likely been a throwaway quip, a nicety made for the sake of the health of the conversation, caught his attention and would not leave. Too young? When he could almost form a composite of her elven foremother's face out of the features she shared with her father and brothers? He set his cup down and dared another bite of the pastry, munching away in thought.

"Gwanuing means 'twin,'" he replied at length, wary of Telemanthea's warning to the girls in case it was supposed to be taken as a general request for quiet, but not so much that he'd let the conversation halt there now that he had a thread to play with, rendered slightly more amenable through the peace offering of the fruit pie. "If you want to learn Elvish, it's best to start with practical things or you will forget everything. For example, if Master Hebirardh claims you are too young for anything again, you can say something like, 'Ego, mibo yrch,' which is a very versatile phrase I could also say to my idiot brother when he's being especially stubborn, like right now." Not even looking sidelong at him, he took his knife and plucked the half-eaten blueberry pie straight off of Elladan's plate as his toll for the earlier slight against his dignity. "Our father tried to teach us to cook, but it was no use—we were banned from the bakehouses forever. Perhaps your pie-making adventures in the meantime will turn out better than ours, lady."
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Elladan
Posted: Jul 16 2014, 07:08 PM



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Joined: 13-March 14



Elladan hadn't been trying to be subtle and he merely smiled wide at the venomous look his brother shot him, returning his gaze cheerfully until Elrohir was distracted by Lothiriel's voice again. He snorted softly in amusement, ducking his head and turning his gaze down to his plate pointedly as he began serious effort in sawing the pie he'd claimed into neat wedge-shaped pieces. He was well aware of the girls' inquisitive gazes, and although he was very inclined to continue on his usual path of immature gamboling, he had known Telemanthea long enough to know that at her age she would most likely not appreciate his tendency to not act like the elf-lord he was supposed to be, or the encouragement it would produce in her young charges.

He didn't really want to be kicked out before they even had a chance to speak with Imrahil.

Still, he didn't mind their curious little stares. He'd never really minded unless it was during an awkward silence or when it was Muinder's eyes on him, but now wasn't exactly a prime opportunity to think on that, so he focused his attention on his pie, chewing happily as Elrohir answered the inquiry. He was admittedly surprised, but he supposed the pie really had been the necessary ice breaker, along with Lothiriel's suspect Luthien-esque looks which certainly didn't hurt anything.

Elladan choked on a blueberry at the mention of orcs, sucking it down into his windpipe in his surprise. He half-laughed and half-coughed it back up, one hand over his mouth in an effort to save his dignity as he squinted at Elrohir, face pinched in both discomfort and disbelieving amusement. Once he'd swallowed the blueberry back down the right path, he dropped his hand and protested with only barely contained mirth, "If Lothiriel ever said that to him I doubt he'd let her learn another word of Elvish ever again. She should use something less antagonistic," his eyes narrowed ominously in his twin's direction, "like 'Tôl auth.' "

His eyes followed the journey of his brother's hand across the small space that separated their place settings in silence, watching with detached interest the theft of the last half of his blueberry pie, at which point his gaze lifted to fix on the girls, brows lifting pointedly in silent exhibition as if to say You see what I have to live with? Hypocrisy ran rampant in their house, sad to say. "I may not be able to bake," he sniffed haughtily, "but I can make anything I find creeping around in the woods taste amazing, thank you very much. And that is a useful skill." Elladan nodded wisely and grabbed a muffin in an effort to finish something sweet that wouldn't be snatched out from under his nose, giving Elrohir a suspicious and slightly challenging glance as he took a bite.
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Lothíriel
Posted: Jul 16 2014, 07:56 PM



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Perhaps it was a good thing that Telemanthea did not speak Elvish. If she had known exactly what Elrohir told Lothíriel to tell her tutor, she might have scolded all four at the table in one swift, angry, grandmotherly swoop whether they were guilty of saying it or not. Luckily for all four present, she was not, and so the woman merely sat quietly in her chair, contentedly consuming a morsel of baked bread spread with honey while the bolder of her charges engaged in conversation with the Twins. She knew when to pick her battles, and this was no time to pick one with the young Princess. The brothers had actively engaged her in their conversation and language, now, and the girl would be hard-pressed to merely abandon the talk now.

The young girl watched the Twins closely, her mind mulling over the two phrases they had both given to her. She tried Elrohir's out first, slowly sounding out the words. "Ego, mibo...yrch?" She nodded her head then, content with the way it had come out. Her voice tried to emulate the same lilting accent theirs had while speaking Elvish, and she was doing a decent enough job with it. "Ego, mibo yrch," she said a bit more firmly this time, smiling at herself. Then Elladan's phrase was tried out, "Tôl auth."

The grin that spread across her face shone brightly with self-satisfaction at having picked up so quickly on two phrases and mirth at the antic of stealing a the remaining pie. She knew what it was like having to guard her food: her brothers often liked to tease her and attempt to steal her own food...when Telemanthea was not around, of course. She could offer no real rebuke toward the twins for their actions; their age surpassed her own, even though neither looked as if they were older than Elphir. "What do they mean?" she quickly asked and just as quickly after, "what is the word for brother? I have three, you know. They are bigger than I am."

It was Telemanthea's look that was directed at the twins then that spoke a thousand words: yes, what did those phrases mean?

The younger girls giggled again as Elladan snatched up a muffin and took a bite from it with the challenging look directed at his brother. "There are more pies in the kitchen," Avariel finally offered up in a soft voice. Lothíriel nodded her head in agreement and took a bite out of the muffin she had taken earlier, her stomach growling as a reminder that she had not fully eaten three bites of her meal yet. She kept her gaze on the two across from her though, quite happy with the impromptu Elvish lesson she was receiving and not yet ready to abandon it.
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Elrohir
Posted: Jul 21 2014, 04:44 AM



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Elrohir had no doubt that any further attempts to secure a piece of food stolen off Elladan's plate would probably be met with violent counter-measures, and as he had no desire to test the skills of Dol Amroth's cutlers, he was forced to let his brother finish his meal in peace, picking at what remained of the pile of eggs and grains on his own plate in smug silence. The air in the room was a far cry from the usual organized sobriety of meals taken in company with the various members of the House of Imrazor, but then, they had never been left in the care of two very small children as their hosts, either, and even Elrohir was loath to acknowledge that after months of unending travel, the task of entertaining the girls was an effective reminder of the luxuries of civility they'd had to leave behind: conversations that weren't 90% grunts over a cookfire, dodging suspect looks from the resident chaperone, gradually waking up over the bright, citrusy smell of tea hovering over the table.

And then he caught Telemanthea's prompt look, and he managed a sheepish half-grin, hiding it behind the bulwark of his mug of orange juice like one of his hounds after a scolding, droop-eared and doleful. Oops. Time for a few corrective measures before any real damage was done.

"They mean things that are fine to say to Master Hebirardh and your brothers, but not to Prince Imrahil—or anyone else, really," he hedged, his gaze darting back to Elladan as if to supplicate his aid in finding some way to avoid the both of them getting escorted to the doors for taking liberties with the girls' education. Then again, she tackled the new funnel of information with agreeable enthusiasm, her native Adunaic's aggressive insistence on consonant sounds almost inaudible in her novice's Sindarin, it was almost cruel to have to withdraw now. Clearing his throat and continuing on before he could either be reprimanded or pressed for more details, he looked back across at their rapt students, just as eager to be in a position of authority, and intending to use his power for all the evil he could muster.

"You would address your brothers by 'hanar;' if you want something from them, use 'muindor.'" He cast a brief, wary sidelong glance at Telemanthea, searching for any sign that the conversation had veered back to a more acceptable direction. "They would call you 'muinthel,' but if you were talking to someone else about the lady Avariel, you might use 'gwathel,' which is something like 'sworn sister.'" That seemed practical enough; it had been a while since either of them had been small enough to have had experience with the sometimes intense nature of childhood friendships, but if even one phrase stayed with them a week after the twins left, Elrohir considered a success.
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Elladan
Posted: Jul 21 2014, 12:42 PM



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Joined: 13-March 14



Elladan blinked at Lothiriel owlishly, the phrases sounding oddly out of place coming from the mouth of an angelic looking man-child, her voice high and lilting and surprisingly fluid even with the undertones of her native tongue. The picture clashed mightily in his brain as he chewed, his brows lifting in interest while observing the exchange between Elrohir and the girl. It was always entertaining to watch Elrohir converse with anyone, sort of like a dog walking on its hind legs, and he would have contributed to the conversation, but he caught the elder woman's look before he could open his mouth, and took an overlarge, preventative bite of his muffin instead, effectively opting out of any form of response. His innocent gaze fixed on Elrohir's supplicating one, cheeks filled out like a chipmunk's as he munched away and shrugged nonchalantly as if to say You started it.

Elrohir obliged surprisingly readily, though with questionable results. His own focus drifted from the conversation for a few seconds as his twin listed off a few familial terms, the word 'muindor' always siderailing his thoughts for a time as he was reminded of Muinder. Aiya, he really needed a vacation. How far were they from Mirkwood? A month's travel? Two? Dol Amroth was about as far South as they could go short of swimming in the sea, or straying into Haradrim territory were they to skirt around the Belfalas any farther. The distance seemed excruciating, and for once he wondered if his wanderlust was beginning to wane, if only just enough to keep him closer to Rhovanion's borders.

His attention came back to the conversation presently, admittedly surprised that Elrohir had continued supplying her with information even though Elladan had swallowed three sentences ago. He lifted his mug to his lips and nursed it a moment before piping up during a lull, "It would be useful if you knew how to introduce yourself, should you ever come across any of our kindred who speak little Westron. The closest to here is Lothlorien, and there are few there who think it of value. 'Mae govannen' is a classic greeting, and should they mistake you for a nice-looking goblin you can say 'Ni firen' which means 'I'm human.' Another useful phrase would be 'Gi nallon, avo nago nin' which loosely translates to 'Please don't kill me.' I suppose that one might come in handy with your brothers as well," he added casually, collecting a few crumbs from his plate with this thumb and popping them into his mouth. Teaching her how to survive in the wild seemed so much more useful than simple words for brother and sister.

Perhaps he was getting ahead of himself. Telemanthea looked rather scandalized at the idea of her precious charges having to talk their way out of getting an arrow through the heart. Hmm… he was wondering of late if he hadn't grown a little jaded to the unpleasantries of the world… and this seemed like a good indication that yes, he certainly had, at least in the opinions of civilized company. Then again, the girls were only five. Eight? Twelve? It was hard to judge mortal age until they got wrinkles.
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